A Most Violent Year: Film Review

2014, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR

I wanted to see this because I love Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain and the trailer looked like this would be a tense gangster-style thriller. Sadly, it did not live up to this expectation. I’m not saying it was bad but it just had to potential to be so much more and didn’t deliver. The room was there for it to be amazing but it didn’t build on its foundations as much as it could and should have done.

Oscar Isaac as Abel Morales, a businessman trying to expand his oil company without violence, corruption and dodgy tactics in a time when his competitors are trying to sabotage him. His drivers are getting hurt, his trucks are being stolen and he needs money to secure a larger property. The temptation to become immoral and do illegal things becomes great but does he give in? His situation is not helped by his wife Anna (Chastain) who wants him to be on top, regardless of the means to get there.

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Chastain stands out because Anna is so well-rounded. There is so much to her character and she seems to have more balls than her husband, and I like that. She takes no shit and takes matters into her own hands when she thinks Abel isn’t doing enough to protect the business. I wish she got Oscar nominated for this. I would have liked her in more scenes. Isaac holds his own against her and you sympathise with his struggle. It makes you wonder – if it is easier to be bad, would you be? Or would you stick to your righteous principles?

The story is interesting, and the dialogue (especially Anna’s) is brilliant, but the drama and tension just didn’t reach the level I wanted. I expected the pressure to become so much for Abel that it all built into one epic crescendo, but that did not happen so I felt deflated. That is not to say it is a bad movie at all. I just wanted more and it had all the tools to do it, but J.C. Chandor chose the nice ending, rather than exciting one.

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READ MORE RECENT REVIEWS:

Wild 

American Sniper

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